March 12, 2004 at 8:58 a.m.
Sarah and Melvin moved to North Branch, Minn., after Melvin left the service. Melvin began to farm with his parents, while Sarah was in charge of their growing household as Doris, Patrick and Martha were born. In addition to being a busy wife and mother she found time to be an active Girl Scout leader.
In 1966 the family moved to the family farm one mile east of Harris. As an avid and knowledgeable antique collector, Sarah ran a small antique shop from the front porch of the farmhouse for several years. She also continued to volunteer as a Girl Scout leader until her children became involved with 4-H. She then helped as needed with various 4-H projects and activities.
Sarah was active in other aspects of community life, as well. She was Chisago County Farm Bureau Secretary, volunteered for North Branch Public Schools in different capacities, and volunteered at Cambridge State Hospital.
Sarah is perhaps best remembered by many residents in Chisago County for her political involvement. Sarah and husband, Melvin, were active on several levels. Sarah drove many miles and visited with many people to get signatures on a petition so land, such as the Sunrise Cemetery, would not be annexed into what is now known as the Wild River State Park. Sarah and Melvin helped organize precinct caucuses, raised money for candidates, assisted with numerous campaigns and provided advice for many pursuing or holding public office.
In 1974 the county commissioner that served in Sarah’s district passed away so she decided to apply for the interim position. She was not selected as the interim commissioner, and as one elected official noted that it was “not right to have a woman serve as county commissioner.” Although not selected, she was undeterred, she ran for election to the post in the primary and then general election. She won handily and became the first woman county commissioner in the history of Chisago County. During her first term Sarah accomplished another first, by having twins Virginia and Paul. The family was now complete.
Sarah ran for re-election and won a second term. During her tenure as county commissioner she served as board chair and served on numerous other boards and committees. Sarah was known as action oriented and would often find herself helping not only her own constituents, but also residents from all over the county. All totaled Sarah served eight years as county commissioner (1975-1982). Although encouraged to continue as commissioner, Sarah felt that her time for public service was over and went back to a more private life of farming and raising a family.
Sarah continued to farm with the help of her family after her husband, Melvin, passed away in 1997. She passed away unexpectedly the evening of Wednesday, March 3, 2004.
Sarah was an avid gardener, a talented artist, an outstanding cook, an antique expert, a shrewd political strategist, a powerful writer, an animal lover, great conversationalist when the mood struck her, had a dry sense of humor, and most of all was a wonderful mother, wife, and friend. She will be greatly missed.
Sarah is survived by her children: Kevin Mold, of North Branch; Doris Mold, and husband Andrew Whyte, of Lauderdale; Pat Mold, of Harris; Martha, and husband Jeff Gravagna, and Virginia Mold, all of St. Paul; and Paul Mold, of Harris; grandchildren: Marcus, Jarod and Jordan Mold; brothers: James Alfred (Al) Harris III and wife, Patsy Harris; Pete and Nancy Harris, all of Arkansas; sisters-in law and brothers-in-law: Lucille Hagert, of Sandborn, MN; Eleanor Olson, of Almelund; Delores Mold and Sis Mold, both of Rush City; Marvin (Pete) Pederson, of Starbuck, MN; Norman Selman, of White Bear Lake; stepmother, Lois Harris; and many nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends (people and animals).
Sarah is preceded in death by her husband, Melvin Mold; father, James Alfred (Al) Harris, Jr.; mother, Grace Lucille Trigg Harris; an infant brother, aunts, uncles and cousins.
Pastor James Rockensock officiated at a celebration of Sarah’s life Wednesday, March 10, 2004, at the Sunrise Bible Church, in Sunrise, Minn.
Honorary Casket bearers included Jim Clifford, Dorothy Hestbeck-Zitt, Doreen Moss, Evelyn Stokes, Bob Warnke, Glenn Wiedendorf. Music was provided by Charlotte Wilcox and Marla Rockensock. Arrangements by the Funeral and Cremation Service, of Rush City, Olson Chapel.